Sunday, November 25, 2007

ARK -- Acts of Random Kindness

According to God in Evan Almighty we need to have an ARK in our lives--not just once in a while, but everyday. Evan had wanted to "Change the World." It was his campaign promise. He asked God how he was going to be able to Change the World. God answered him, "Put an ARK in your life." Evan told him that he was doing that--he was building an ark. God told him not an ark, but an ARK, an Act of Random Kindness, built into your day, everyday.

The commercial that is for one of the insurance companies (I think) shows the perfect examples of ARK. The acts that people do, see and then do something for others is the wonderful way that God helps Evan learn how to change the world. We also could learn from these teachings. We don't have to be a community, city, county, state, nation of mean & rude, self-serving, unruly, unloving, greedy people. We should not expect everything to be given to us. We are reminded that those that originally came to this land had to work very hard just to stay alive--let alone to live either meagerly or prosperously. We have always been a nation that works and toils to receive and maintain the rights and freedoms that were so important to those first coming to this land. We should not expect our governments to do for us that that we will not do for ourselves.

We live in an area where Hurricane Katrina led many to the ARK way of life. However, in the process, some have become rude, selfish, and greedy, expecting people to give, give, give and not do anything to help do for themselves. They have become accustomed to the government paying for their housing, their food, and have not tried to achieve a livelihood that includes paying for their own home food, or anything else. They want everything handed to them from either a charitable organization, people that want to see them out of their plight or from the government. I wonder, are any of these people truly thankful for all they have received? Are they thankful for the help and kindnesses shown to them? Many I see that are working so hard to rise from the water and silt that still taints their lives are very thankful. Others though feel it is owed to them and are not at all thankful, but are still demanding more. How can these people be like this? Have we become so greedy and self-serving as a nation that there is no thankfulness left? I certainly hope not.

As part of the resolutions by President Lincoln and then President Roosevelt, we, as a nation, have set apart a day to be thankful for all of the ARKs in our lives, all the ARKs we can give to others, our families, our health, our careers, our friends, and any and everything else that we can be thankful for. We are the only nation (I think) that has a recognized national holiday where we should remember the things to be thankful for; as we have SO MUCH to be thankful for.

This last month has brought about ARKs and things for us to be thankful for in an unforseen manner. To begin with, today is November 25--so the first I will mention is that my son and his wife are celebrating their first anniversary. I don't hear from him, so I am hoping that this was a good year for the two of them.

I have already told about my daughter and her ARK--bringing home the kitten that had been dumped on her campus. Jaspar has been such a joy to watch as he grows and plays. We are very thankful for this ARK and I'm sure that Jaspar is also! After all, instead of foraging for scraps of food, left around campus by the students, he now has a home with other cats to play with and 2 dogs that not only tolerate him, but also will curl up with him to sleep and keep him warm.

The week before Thanksgiving we had a very sick cat, Oreo was taken to the vet and stayed for 2 days receiving IV treatments and being force fed. The doctor never could figure out what had made him so sick and dehydrated! However, we were very lucky that with the IVs and the feedings we were able to revive him back to his old playful self.

In the process, I had an ARK of my own. When I went to pick him up I saw in the cage next to Oreo's at the vet's office was this little, itty, bitty white and strawberry blonde kitten. The tag on the cage said, "One month old male, looking for a home." I told the vet, that if he was still there when we brought Oreo in for a recheck, I would probably take him home with me. Well the following week, I picked up Oreo and there was the little kitten, climbing the bars on the cage door. I just couldn't resist. This kitten had already had one ARK bestowed up on him--someone found him in a ditch alongside one of the busiest roads in town and brought him to the vet. Now we were going to take him home with us to give him a loving home to grow up in. To give you an idea of how tiny Mater is, the box (in the picture) he is laying in is a 6" square box! The vet was concerned that it would not work well with all of our other animals and him being so small. However, Gus and Jasmin (the two dogs) have been his protectors, he is small enough to get into places the two older kittens (Oreo and Jaspar) can't get into anymore, the two older cats (Donnie and Savannah) have taken to him quite well and the oldest cat (Junie) who stays outdoors has not had any contact with him as he stays inside. So we are thankful for our newest (and hopefully the last) 4 legged edition to the family and for all the other 4 legged family members as well.

We are thankful and proud that our daughters are part of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College--Perkinston Pride of the South Band and will be traveling with the football team to Dallas for a bowl game. The team is undeafted and is the state champion for the junior/community colleges.

We are thankful for our family, wherever they are located, and that they are healthy and living life the way that they are wanting/wishing/felt led to/or how they should or need to at this point in time in their life. We are thankful for the men and women serving their country for the rights and freedoms that we all enjoy in the United States. We all know that freedom is not free and that it is with the blood of all those past and present that have bought and paid for the freedoms originally fought for over 200 years ago by the founding fathers (and brothers, sisters, mothers, wives, etc.) of our beautiful country. Whether any of us, now or those in the distant past, agree with the skirmishes, battles, or wars that are fought, there are always those that are proud of our service men, stand behind them no matter what our personal feelings are toward the ensuing battles, and forever thankful that they continue to fight for our freedoms. I am proud to say that our family is part of that population--and several of our family members have been apart of those serving our country to keep our rights and freedoms for us.

Those of us either attending or working at school, are thankful for this time of vacation. We were all in need of this brief vacation time to spend time preparing for Thanksgiving and the over done, over advertised, over zealous, over commercialized portion of this next 4 weeks of waiting. These 4 weeks of Advent are when we should be most thankful for the season of the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

What ARK can you do today? What are you thankful today?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

So Much to Say, but Can't Seem to Say It!

Have you ever felt like you just couldn't get out of your head what you need to say? You know that somewhere and sometime it will all come spilling out and not be able to stop it. You know that when it does, things will be said--that you know you will mean, you know will hurt someone, you know that it is something that NEEDS to be said, but you possibley could (no you know you could) and probably should have said it differently. But no matter what you say or how you say it--it doesn't feel right that you said it--or worse, you feel right about it but you have made enemies for life of someone (and you don't care).

It is very seldom that I am speechless and unable to say what I want to. The weekend we went to Florida for the death of my father-in-law, was a weekend that I would like to erase from memory--and things that have since commenced have not made that weekend any better. Things were said that should have been said by someone other than me 20+ years ago--but weren't then, and I blurted them out. Things got said that now others are holding against not only me, but my family. And if that is the case, so be it. I said NOTHING that was not truthful. I have been accused of not having any restraint--I beg to differ with them. I've held my tongue for over two years--hoping someone else would say them. I held my tongue until the day before we left--and by the point I couldn't handle it anymore, I wanted the person to know exactly how she made not only me but also my husband FEEL. And I have to say, that for someone that accuses me of attacking her verbally--she has no room to speak as she attacked me even more so at the time and has since then said that "we are through, done, finished." She told me she'd deny that she ever said anything to me if I told my husband--how can she deny it when she puts the message on a recorded voicemail that is easy to play back and listen to?

Now I know that through all of this it has to do with the perception of the speaker and the one hearing--I won't say listening. The person listening has the perception of being attacked and that I had "no right" to say anything and my husband should have "spoken up to stop me." My husband had the perception that he was allowing me to say what he has kept bottled up for 20+ years and he was unable to say any of it. I had (and still have) the perception that if my husband is being hurt emotionally that I can only take it so long before I "defend" him.

Was I right or wrong? Was she right or wrong? Was he right or wrong? At this point I believe the correct answer would be that in all, all three of us were both right and wrong. So I am in the quandry of having an "olive branch" supposedly put out and I am "supposed" to take it. The problem is, I don't know if, at this time, I can do that. I am still extremely ticked off about it all and it is taking a toll on both my husband and I (as he had problems accepting the olive branch as well). I can't just say, "I'm sorry" as I am NOT sorry for finally bringing to light the way she has made my husband feel for years. I am NOT sorry for expressing the way she and two other women made my husband and me feel the entire time we were there.

I think part of the problem is that we are so much alike in so many ways--especially personality wise. We are both, as she calls herself, the "alpha bitch" in each of our respective families. And when you get two alphas together, you know that there is bound to be a blow up sometime in the relationship. Now will the relationship ever return to the one that we shared before the blowup between us? I don't know. Am I supposed to just go "running back to her" and just apologize until I can no longer speak? I don't think so--although that is what she is expecting and what my husband sort of wants me to do. As he said, he wants me to do what I can, must, should, will--but he doesn't want it to take away from the person he married. I can't cower and take being made to feel worthless and a nothing any longer--I was made to feel that way for way too many years.

So how do I go about taking a step towards the "olive branch" and meeting in the middle? And for that matter, if she IS holding out the olive branch and saying that we should meet in the middle, why didn't she say it to me? Why did she call him and say we need to work this out and not call and leave the same message on my phone--she usually calls both phones and leaves a message on both if we are unable to answer phones at the time. So is she only extending the olive branch towards him or both of us?

OK, so for my title to be "So Much to Say, but Can't Seem to Say It!" I seem to have had a lot to say here. But the ability to say what all needs to be said to her eludes me in a way that won't make matters worse. What was said then, in my perception, is still true, is still there, is still in tact. Yet her perspective of it is totally different.

She says, "you weren't here" and "you don't know what actually went on" Well that is true--for everything she has told my husband and I was totally opposite of what we are now finding out was "true." But then, what is truth? Is truth reliant on someone's perspective? Is what is true to me in all actuality not truth? Is it only truth to the one that sees it or tells it? Isn't that why people claim that someone is "living in a fantasy world" when they say things that they believe is truth and everyone else sees it as fantasy?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Cats & Dogs---family or just 4 legged pets?

Many people think that our family is a little strange--after all we have 5+1 cats and 2 dogs (Gus and Jasmine); oh and let's not forget the 4 turtles that we have named (Yertle, Scooter, Billy Bob, and Fred--in order of when they've shown up) and fed for the last few years that come every few days to eat with the two outside cats. I even had someone have the nerve to ask me if we really like animals or did we just have them around the house and couldn't get rid of them.--I can't imagine having the animals we have and NOT wanting them! I say 5+1 because 5 of them (Junie, Donnie, Savannah, Oreo and our newsest addition, Jaspar--in order of age) are really our cats, the +1 is a cat that I don't remember being in the area before Hurricane Katrina, but he comes to eat with our outdoor cat every morning and every afternoon. He doesn't allow us to pet him--although we have snuck up on him and done so once or twice. But he knows us and knows the name that we call him--whatever his name is by either his current owners or the owners he used to have we don't know. But he knows that for us, he is known as Snowball.

One of these animals is very sick--Oreo has lost major weight in less than 3 days--he's gone from a nice sized cat to a cat that we can now feel his ribs and can even feel the locator chip in his shoulder (which we've never felt before). Last night we held him and loved on him and cried over him--afraid that we were going to lose him. We still don't know what has caused the major weight loss, the total appetite loss--he won't eat or drink anything. He won't play or pounce with/at the other animals in the house--his usual. He won't have much to do with either of the "real" humans--all of our animals think they are humans, they just have 4 legs instead of 2--in the house. He is currently spending the night in the vet's office with an IV in him to try to rehydrate him. He was so dehydrated that his blood was clotting almost before the vet could get it drawn for the blood tests. They are having to put intraveneous fluids and nutrients into him to even be able to run any further tests.

So the question has been posed to me, "Do you really think of your animals as pets or family?" Well, to me that is a "well, duh" answer ready and waiting. How could these 4 legged critters that sleep at our feet, in between us, on top of us, and roam between our bed and the bed of which child is actually home at the time. It is rare when we don't have 2 dogs and at least 3 cats on the bed at the same time. I guess it's a really good thing that we have a queen sized bed--we wouldn't have any room for us otherwise.

People we went to eat with the other night were talking about their pets that weren't allowed in their bedroom and others that said their animals weren't allowed in their house at all. So many that I know don't allow their pets to get on beds, couches, chairs, any furniture, any carpeting, and etc. Personally, I can't imagine animals in that way. If we have animals--they become family--and most of them have taken us over or have us curled around their tail, paw, claw or however you want to think of it within the first hour. These animals are in no way JUST PETS!!! They are 100% family! And when we lose one of our animals, the pain is the same as losing a family member.

So, it has been very hard on my husband and I for the last day or two. I can't even imagine how I will have a normal night's sleep without Oreo curled up either on me or in between my husband and I tonight. I only pray that whatever bug, virus, or whatever this is that has gotten a very strong hold on him now will let loose and he will be back up to his perky, lively, playful self very, very soon.

Friday, November 2, 2007

When Did It Become "Our" Job?

For as long as I can remember, it was tradition that men did all the "outside" work and women always did the "inside" work. Of course, my family had made that a pact long before I was born. For that matter I had never even touched a lawn mower before my first husband and I divorced except maybe to walk by it or move it from one side of the garage to the other! However, after the divorce, I found myself doing more and more of the lawn work--to the point that my second husband calls me "She-rah". I swear though that before my husband left on his last deployment he told me that if I took care of the yard while he was gone, he'd be the one to do it from the time he retired from the service on! So much for that.

I came home today and decided that the yard needed to be mowed! And it really did need to be mowed--or maybe just the leaves and a few of the weeds taken care of. I thought that I could kill two birds with one stone--and actually I did, but I must be crazy for taking on that project. I used the bagger so that it would "vacuum" the yard as well! LOL There was some method to my madness though. Ever since Katrina and then a leak in the plumbing, we have a corner of the back yard that is now much lower than the rest of the yard, becomes a pond in heavy rains, and the yard is becoming lower than where the fence meets the ground--not good with 2 dogs in the back yard! So every bag that I collected got dumped in what seems to be a gradual sink hole! After 4 or 5 bags (filled to the rim and overflowing the bagger) the yard is almost up to the first of several different levels in the back yard. We'll see how that works (at least until the first good thunderstorm)!

Those of you that have green thumbs--as opposed to the brown or black thumb that I seemingly have--what is happening to my plants. In general, I do very little to/with my plants as I feel God is the best Gardener of them all. I figure He knows when they need water and when they don't. After all, he's been in the business of making the Earth green and fruitful for MANY years! So I don't put on all the extra fertilizers, weed & feed, change the soil, or give extra water to them unless we haven't had rain for a LONG time. And until the last few months, we've had beautiful plants along the front of my house. Now???? They are all either being eaten up with something that looks like coffee grounds or look like they've been burnt by a drought (from the bottom leaves and inner most leaves out to the outside or top leaves). It's really weird looking. One of the plants that had sat in a pot for seemingly forever and was doing beautifully, started dieing as soon as I planted it. I figured it would have thrived now that it had room for its root system instead of being strangled and getting root rot in the pot. I had a camilia bush that bloomed all summer long (July through mid October)--and none of the other plants did--but the camilia normally blooms in the spring, not summer. What is going on with my plants? Any ideas?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

All Saints' Day--How Appropriate!!!

All Saints' Day: Do you know what All Saints' Day is? I've heard all different things about it and different things that you need to do on this day. But I had never really thought about what it really is--although I knew that Halloween was All Hallows Eve. I know that in the United Methodist Church I attend, it is often referred to as the day that all of the saints --and I don't mean the ones like St. Thomas, St. Francis, etc., I am speaking of those Christians that are now sitting with God--that have gone on before us are remembered and celebrated. Several of my good friends go to the gravesites of their departed loved ones and make sure the gravesite is cleaned, flowers are placed, prayers are said, and in general--remembering them. Other friends go to special services to remember those that have passed on before us. And some don't recognize it at all. According to this is what the origin and meaning of All Saints' Day. You can go to their site to see extended information.

All Saints' Day, feast of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, and day on
which churches glorify God for all God's saints, known and unknown. It is
celebrated on Nov. 1 in the West, since Pope Gregory IV ordered its church-wide
observance in 837. Its origin lies earlier in the common commemorations of
martyrs who died in groups or whose names were unknown, which were held on
various days in different parts of the Church; over time these celebrations came
to include not only the martyrs but all saints. During the Reformation the
Protestant churches understood “saints” in its New Testament usage as including
all believers and reinterpreted the feast of All Saints as a celebration of the
unity of the entire Church. In medieval England the festival was known as All
Hallows, hence the name Halloween [=All
Hallows' eve] for the preceding evening.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2007, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. Found at:

Now that we have discussed what All Saints' Day is; the following information that I found on one of my feeds really makes this event happening on All Saints' Day so appropriate. Now my question is--Did God plan it this way? Did Michelangelo plan it this way? I highly doubt that one--as he was no longer in the best condition by the time he finished it. He was almost blind from all the paint and oils that fell into his face/eyes while lying on his back painting. But he may have planned it that way--making the finishing touches "drag out" so that it would be finished on November 1st. At any rate, read on... compliments of The Free Dictionary.

This Day in History: Ceiling of Sistine Chapel Completed (1512)In 1508, Pope
Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
The work was completed in 1512 and features over 300 biblical figures and nine
episodes from the Book of Genesis. Below these scenes are the statuesque figures
of prophets and sibyls, with episodes from the Old Testament in the spandrels.
The last great work Michelangelo executed in the chapel was The Last Judgment.
Where in the chapel did he paint it? More...
This Day in History provided by The Free Dictionary

If you have never seen the Sistine Chapel, you have missed the site of a life time. When I was a sophomore in high school, I went with people from the base chapel where we lived in Germany. My mother and I took a week-long tour of Rome--sponsored by the Catholic priest stationed at the base--as the other Protestant chaplain that was stationed there was on the tour with us, Dad could not go on the tour with us. We visited the catacombs and saw so much of Rome outside of the Vatican.

But the best part of the tour really was getting to go to the Vatican and tour the Sistine Chapel. In addition, we were invited to take part in a mass inside the Vatican, with 3 of our group chosen as acolytes. While there we also were able to sit in the front row of one of the open mass with Pope John (whatever number he was--I can't ever remember--if it helps you, this would have been in late 1976 or early 1977). As exciting as it was to be present at a mass presided over by the Pope, it still did not live up to the solemnity, reverence, beauty, spirituality, and so many more adjectives that I could add, of the Sistine Chapel.

Obviously, as long ago as that was, it was LONG before the restoration project. Yet it was beautiful. I think we could have spent hours and hours in there and I never would have seen as much of it as I would have liked. My husband went to Rome while he was deployed a few years ago. He saw it after it had been restored and like me, could not say enough about it. Of course, he was with a group of sailors that didn't exactly have the time to stop and look for too long. But all of them agreed that it was the highlight of their trip.

Amidst all of the controversy about the body parts that were later "covered" by another artist who was dubbed as the "breeches painter" because he clothed many of the males genitilia; Amidst all of the controversy about the restoration; Amidst all of the controversy about the varnish, electric lighting, candles and natural lighting---the Sistine Chapel remains one of the most well known pieces of art, one of the largest pieces of artwork, one of the most beautiful pieces of art, one of the most controversial pieces of art, and one of the most spiritual pieces of art.

I truly believe that Michelangelo was given the talent and the vision for the artistry in that chapel by God himself--of course the talent was given to him by God; but not all would agree that his vision was given by God. So in honor of all of the saints that have gone before us and in honor of Michaelangelo's finishing the work, I hope that this All Saints' Day has been one of reverence, rememberance, and prayers for those that have gone before as well as for those who are still among us that may precede us or may follow us to our place next to God. May God be with each and all of you today and always.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How to Change the World....

I don't usually do "reviews" but since my son is watching this movie in the background--I guess I have to say something here--as it created in me an idea.

The movie? Evan Almighty

If you have never seen it--it is not:

1) "just another dumb movie".

2) just another "God" movie.

3) another movie trying to get you to accept God--although if you don't see God working in this movie, there's something wrong!

4) another in the O God movies

What it is:

1) a good wholesome movie for the whole family

2) a movie that shows that no matter how much you think your spouse has lost his/her mind, if you love them with all your heart and soul, stand with them--even if it does take some time to realize that!

3) a movie that brings a family back to a family instead of how most of us spend our lives--all going in separate directions

4) a movie that if you watch the "extras" you will find that they actually did a lot of research and kept things fairly accurate to the "original" story in the Bible.

5) a movie that when it was done and over with, all the wood that was used to build a "true" size ark according to the specifications God set--was used to build homes for those that otherwise could not afford it or were in need of housing

The premise? The movie is basically telling the story of a news anchor that is elected to Congress (the Senate side I think). His campaign promises are "I'm going to change the world." Now how many times have we heard empty promises that can't be fulfilled--unless the rest of Congress backs it and everything isn't held up in committees? They get to their new home in their new car and the first night the wife suggests that they pray. He doesn't understand why; but after his wife says something along the lines of, "Well, with all that we now have, I think you should thank Him and ask him for help if you're really going to change the world." From there it goes through a modern day version of Noah and the building of the Ark.

One of the questions that Evan asks God (by the way who is played by a native Mississippian, Morgan Freeman) is, "How do I go about changing the world?" God's answer is actually simple--and all of us as teachers already know this and presumably do it everyday, "You want to change the world? Start with a single act of random kindness everyday." That is something that children with Down's Syndrome seem to inherently know. The children I have taught over the past 22 years that are so loving, so caring, have such a wonderful personality, and most of all are so DIFFERENT from everybody else--they know deep in their souls how to do something kind everyday. It may just be a smile sent in your direction. It may be, "Cn I hep you Dibbs?" or "I sawrrry." or a kiss blown in your direction. For those of you that don't have the experience of being around these wonderful children, you really are missing out. Yes, it can be frustrating to not know what they're trying to tell you or show you. Yes, you wonder sometimes what you've just agreed to. Yes, when you're in the middle of the 10th poopy incontinent brief for the day you feel like that's all your life is filled with---POOP! But when you really feel bad--they know it and will try to offer to you the only thing they often can give---their love and their own personalities to help "make you better."

It reminds me too of the commercial for whichever insurance company it is where someone does something nice, another sees it, then they do something nice, and it continues full circle until it gets back to the original person doing something nice for someone else. I feel that this workshop that has totally had me engrossed for seven weeks has been like that commercial. I know that many times I've needed help and someone or several have readily offered their help and support. When I was able to do the same for someone else, I tried my best to do so. I know that I am one of the few that has had the ability to spend more time on the computer and answer many more than our required one or two post responses or comment(s) on at least 1 other person's blog. And that is ok--as I have enjoyed reading everyone's posts, threads, discussions, blogs, etc., etc., etc. I have enjoyed putting in my $.02 worth when I could--whether it was able to help or not.

I am sorry to say that the Web 2.0 Read/Write Web Workshop is closing in the next day or two. I have learned so much from this workshop--not just from the material given in it--but as much if not more so from the other 16 that have been active throughout all 7 weeks of the class. Would I like to keep up with all that are in this workshop? I can't think of anyone that I wouldn't want to check in and see how they're doing with their blogs, wikis, etc. and you can count on me---I will! I can't think of any of them that I wouldn't want to help me get my blooming wiki going in the right direction or to see their comments here on my blog that I will continue. I would love to be able to get together in person with any or all of them--a reunion of sorts, even though we've never "met". I'd love to be able to have several of us sit down around a table, with iced tea (or maybe something stronger) and a table full of "munchies" other wise known as appetizers of all sorts and just talk about our daily lives, frustrations, and this technology stuff too I guess! LOL I know that that would never happen as there are so many activities that fill each of the lives of the workshop participants and their responsibilities to their families and their activities--not to mention the fact there's a lot of miles betweem those living on the coast to those that live on the northern border of the state. So, I'm a dreamer--what else is new?!? It would be fun though!

So here is my toast to all of those in the workshop--I raise my glass to each of you and challenge each of you to do or show at least one single random act of kindness each day; smile; and have fun with your classes. You all have made this workshop a pleasure as opposed to a drudgery. I will miss you all. :(

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Small, Blue, Sweet, Always Happy--The Smurfs

As I glanced across the Today in History things in my iGoogle page I came across the Smurfs! I used to LOVE the Smurfs! Towards the end of this post, you will find the history of the Smurfs--and it may surprise you that they've been around as long as they have (1958) and where they started out--it wasn't with Hanna Barberra! I don't mean I watched them as a kid, although as a kid I was an avid cartoon addict. I watched cartoons all the time as an adult--having young kids just gave me an excuse to watch them without anyone teasing me about it. For that matter, I was watching the Smurfs as I started having contractions and delivered my second child!

I have always loved the older cartoons (well older to the kids of today!). What ever happened to Johnny Quest? Are he and Hadji still on adventures with his father? Or has his father retired and Johnny has his own business making big bucks? Now there is another one to check out the real story of!! Talk about the power of parents back then! Parents seemed to have a direct link to censors back then. Wish we did now. Of course, now we just tell our kids, it's just fiction, it isn't real, it's like your video games! Now if our parents thought the way they did about Johnny Quest, what would they be saying about today's TV programming...Oh Boy, we already know the answers to that don't we!!!!????!!!!

Will Wile E. Coyote ever catch the Road Runner? Are the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote really friends? What about the Acme Company? Does it exist anywhere other than Toon Town in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and this cartoon? What about all the neat things that could be ordered from Acme? I swear there are really some times I'd like to order up some of those neat contraptions--of course they all are "some assembly required" which would be beyond my time constraints! LOL

Will Elmer Fudd ever get that "waskilly wabbit"? Does Elmer and Petunia ever get together to live "happily ever after"? Does Yosemite Sam ever pull one over on Bugs? Does Bugs ever turn the "correct" direction when he digs his tunnels to end up in the right place when he surfaces? Didn't you just love his "hare brained" ideas? How was he ever able to constantly out wit his opponents?

Will there ever be cartoons like these again? Without the cartoon genius and animatrix (is that a word) of the likes of Tex Avery, Mel Blanc, Walt Disney, and the other cartoon geniuses of Hanna Barbera, Looney Toons, Disney, etc. where will cartoons go? Of course we know the answer to that--we've seen where cartoons and animation have taken us. Thank heavens for the likes of Dreamworks and Pixar for keeping animation (and the stories that go with it) in the world of the dreamers, ideologists, imaginateers, and the likes. We have seen some great cartoons with values and morals woven into them as in the "good ol' days" (both our parents and ours). We've also seen how some of those that seemingly have no morals or values go more towards animations that show the disrespect and no values. Of course, what we see now as funny we don't think of as appropriate for young children. Therein lies the double entendre of animation!

What is it with the new cartoons? The Simpsons teach children how to be rude and disrespectful to everyone, but especially to parents and other authority figures. Sponge Bob Square Pants and his friend, Patrick--well, let's just skip those two altogether! Has Chucky ever gotten to be as brave as Tommy and will they ever be able to get even with Angelica in The Rugrats? Yes, there are still some cute cartoons, but they don't ever seem to match up to our expectations of the cartoons we watched as kids. Of course, parents of "kids" my age always said we weren't watching "real" cartoons either--they did when they watched Mickey in Steam Boat Willie!

Just like with the animated world--what is good for the adult is not always good for the child--yet what is good for the child should be good for the adult--even if it does seem corny and unfathomable that we as parents could enjoy what our children watch. Is life any different today for our kids than it was for us as kids or for our parents as kids? We still have to worry about peer pressure. We still have to worry about the promiscuous kids. We still have to worry about STDs--except now instead of just worrying about crabs or the clap, syphilis or gonorrhea, now we have to include HIV and AIDS. We still have to worry about teen drinking and smoking. We still have to worry about "who" they hang out with. Instead of parents wondering, "Are they from the "wrong side of the track'?" "Are they the 'right race or religion'?" We now have to think about "goth" kids, those that "party hardy", "preps", "jocks", and etc. The drugs that are out there now are much worse--or so we say. Is there really a way of deciding better or worse between such things as illegal drugs? Who is to say which is better or worse between LSD or Crack, heroin or cocaine, tokin' or huffing? No matter, are the good ol' days then or now? Our parents and grandparents claim it was then, we will be claiming that this time in our lives were the good ol' days!

So, what is small, blue, sweet, always happy? Of course it's the Smurfs--even when Grouchy Smurf was the all time pessimist or Papa Smurf was mad at Clumsy! They portrayed life as simple yet they still all had jobs to do in their village. They had their moments of hard times (especially when Azreale would encroach upon their village) good times, adventures, misadventures, and lots of celebrations. Even though they had very human characteristics, they were definitely NOT humans; so much so that Papa Smurf even said, "Money was created by humans for the humans, and what is good for humans is not necessarily good for us smurfs!" To find out more about the individual characters within the Smurf Village, go to:

Now for your history lesson of the day: How much of the following did you know about the Smurfs? I'm betting most all of your knowledge is from the Hanna Barbera cartoon version; not the true history of how the Smurfs came into being. Read on and then check out "the rest of the story" by going to:

The Smurfs (Les Schtroumpfs in French) are a fictional group of small sky blue creatures who live somewhere in the forests of Europe. The Belgian cartoonist Peyo introduced Smurfs to the world, but English-speakers perhaps know them best through the animated television series from Hanna-Barbera Productions, The Smurfs.
History "Johan & Pirlouit" Peyo wrote a Franco-Belgian comics serial in Le Journal de Spirou called "Johan & Pirlouit" (translated to English as Johan and Peewit). The setting lies in the Middle Ages in Europe. Johan serves as a brave young page to the king, and Peewit (pronounced Pee-Wee) functions as his faithful, if boastful and cheating, midget sidekick. On October 23, 1958, Peyo introduced a new set of characters to the "Johan & Pirlouit" story. This alone caused no great excitement, as the brave duo constantly encountered strange new people and places. This time, they had the mission of recovering a Magic Flute, which required some sorcery by the wizard Homnibus. And in this manner, they met a schtroumpf. The figures soon proved to be a huge success, and the first independent smurf stories appeared in Spirou in 1959, together with the first merchandising. With the commercial success of The Smurf empire came the merchandising empire of Smurf miniatures, models, games, and toys. Entire collecting clubs devote themselves to collecting PVC toys.
Schtroumpf/Smurf origins"Schtroumpf" is an invented word. The way of saying "Schtroumpf" in French is quite simmilar to the German word "Strumpf" which does mean "sock" in English. According to Peyo, the word came to him as he asked André Franquin for salt during lunch and, struggling to find the word that eluded him, finally managed to say "passe-moi le schtroumpf" ("pass me the smurf").[1] It would later be translated into nearly 30 languages and, in some of those languages, "schtroumpf" became "smurf" (see The Smurfs in other languages). The word "smurf" was first used in Dutch, as the comics were simultaneously published in French (in Spirou magazine) and Dutch (in Robbedoes, the Dutch translation of the magazine). In any case, the tiny blue people proved a sudden hit, commercially speaking, and quickly moved into their own comic series which became a tremendous success. In several interviews, Peyo stated that the Smurfs was his favourite series in the early sixties, but later his own preference went to his "Johan & Pirlouit" series, and he sometimes expressed exasperation with the overbearing success of the Smurfs.

Hanna-Barbera series In 1976, Stuart R. Ross, an American media and entertainment entrepreneur who saw the Smurfs while travelling in Belgium, entered into an agreement with Editions Dupuis and Peyo, acquiring North American and other rights to the characters. Subsequently, Ross launched the Smurfs in the United States in association with a California company, Wallace Berrie and Co., whose figurines, dolls and other Smurf merchandise became a hugely popular success. NBC television executive Fred Silverman's daughter had a Smurf doll of her own, and Silverman thought that a series based on the Smurfs might make a good addition to his Saturday-morning lineup. The Smurfs secured their place in North American pop culture in 1980, when the Saturday-morning cartoon, The Smurfs, produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, finally debuted on NBC from 1981 to 1990. The show became a major success for NBC, spawning spin-off television specials on an almost yearly basis. The Smurfs was nominated multiple times for Daytime Emmy awards, and won Outstanding Children's Entertainment Series in 1982–1983. The Smurfs television show enjoyed continued success until 1990, when, after a decade of success, NBC cancelled it due to decreasing ratings. The series currently airs in reruns on Boomerang, and 26 selected episodes were aired in DiC Entertainment's syndicated programming blocks. The series is still being shown regularly on many channels throughout the world. The cartoon was formerly distributed by Television Program Enterprises (the later name of Rysher Entertainment) and WorldVision Enterprises, Inc. by having some episodes with those company names. The cartoon is now distributed by Warner Bros. Television. Warner Bros. has announced its tentative plans to start releasing the complete Smurfs Cartoon series on DVD in the United States in season box sets in 2007 .

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Stress and Tension of Families

Did you know that the stress and tension during a family's loss can feel like you are being strangled or that you want to strangle someone else? It is amazing that with all of the losses we've had in our family over the last 15 years I've never felt as much tension and stress as with this loss. Family members are at each others throats, the "I want this or that" is not nearly as apparent as you'd think. However, "the get rid of this", "no, we need to save this", "take this out of the attic", "no, wait, put it back up there" is causing us horrendous stress (especially to the knees). The emotions are all churned up. The body is aching from the trips up and down, carrying load after load of "junk" and not eating the way we normally do. But we will survive~~~

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Loss of Grandpa Bob

Since Wednesday, life as we know it has changed somewhat. In some ways it has been a good change, Grandpa Bob is no longer ill, hurting, in a state of dementia, etc. In other ways, it has been a bad change, Grandpa Bob is no longer with us as the man that we loved and cherished. But because of his illness, he hasn't been that man for a couple of years. We also have had to make (well, we didn't have to, we wanted to) a 12 hour trip south to the Fort Lauderdale area to help my mother-in-law clean out decades of "pack-rat-itis". I've known some pack-rats that I thought were hopeless, but I don't know if any of them (including myself) that are as bad as all that we have been going through today. I now would like to share the life of Grandpa Bob--as we knew him, not as the man that was so sick that he was no longer the fun, loving man that we've always known.

TSgt. (retired) Robert “Bob” Edward Louderback

After numerous years of illness, the city of Deerfield Beach, Florida lost a beloved son on Wednesday, October 17, 2007. Robert Edward Louderback was born July 9, 1932 to Ellen Jones and William Louderback in Haddonfield, New Jersey. In the 75 intervening years between his birth and his death Bob led a very full life that included two wives, 4 children, and 6 grandchildren.

Bob is survived by sons from his first wife Joan Colleluori, David Louderback, John and Lynn Louderback and their son, Chase. He is also survived by his second wife, Kathleen Louderback, daughter, Dr. Cheryl Roberts and husband Bob Wilbur, son, David and wife Shelly Roberts and their children, Zachery Roberts, Adam and his wife Beth Gibbs, Janyce Gibbs, Athena Roberts, and Tim Gibbs.

Throughout Bob’s life, he was an active patriot of the United States. He spent 22 years serving his country in the United States Air Force. His most memorable experience from his years in the military was serving under Dr. Edwin “Buzz” E. Aldrin (retired Col.), former astronaut for NASA and Commander of the Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base. Bob spoke very fondly of the years he spent with Dr. Aldrin. A fellow New Jersey native and their interest in their country and the space program made for a natural friendship to transpire.

Following his retirement from the Air Force in 1972, Bob spent the following 23 years in the construction industry in the Miami and Boca Raton areas of Florida. He helped construct many of the structures in those areas built within that 23 year span. His ability to “see” what could be made out of the scrap materials at a construction site was unique and genuine. He was a creative craftsman, building many of the pieces of furniture and cabinets throughout the years in his home. He was able to design and construct many useful “gadgets” around the house—not getting credit for many of the designs that have since been “discovered” by others with patents gained for them. The fact that he never had patents on any of his ideas did not stop him from continuing to putter around with this idea and that. Even as recently as two-years ago, he was still designing things for his son and grandson to build while they were living with him after Hurricane Katrina displaced them temporarily from their home.

His retired life was not one spent as a sedentary citizen just biding his time. He was active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the American Legion, the Elks Lodge and he was a 32nd degree Mason. In addition, he was very active in city politics. Although he was not an elected official, most all elected officials of Deerfield Beach knew Bob and knew his opinions on any issue. He was an avid letter writer and would always put in his “two-cents” worth on an issue, either for against it. He was also on a first name basis with many of the elected officials, never thinking twice about picking up the phone to inform them of issues that should be considered or those that should not be even brought up at city council meetings. In addition, he was a former Board Member for the Gates of Hillsboro. He spent 10 years serving in various positions on the board and continued to support the board and voicing his opinions even after his departure from the board.

Throughout his years of retirement, he and his wife, Kathleen could be seen at Dog Shows across the state of Florida. Bob and Kathy were very proud of the Doberman pincers that they raised and took to dog shows. Even at the end, they shared the love of two Dobies, Taz and Vegas that were always by his side. He no longer took his Dobies to the dog shows, as the stress and tension involved in the shows became too much, but his love for the dogs never failed.

Bob could be seen at least one day each weekend and often 2 or more days a week, on the water with a fishing pole in his hand. He loved to fish—whether it was salt water fishing, fresh water fishing, in local lakes or rivers, in the waters off the Gulf Coast or traveling abroad to fish. Often, the vacations for Bob and Kathy were planned around fishing areas or tournaments.

Although he was an avid sports fisherman, he was even more passionate about the conservation of wildlife and saving the Everglades. It was very common for Bob to be involved with fund raising efforts that went towards conservation efforts. He could also be heard educating others in and around the community as to the effects of the “raping of the Everglades”. As with local issues, he wrote many letters and encouraged others to voice their opinions to those with the authority to act to save the Everglades.

Bob was also an enthusiastic poker player. He often boasted that he could play at the level with the professional poker players. Many that have played against him would agree. Many of his vacations in the last several years were to Las Vegas where he could join in poker games with high stakes. He also spent many vacations at the casinos in Biloxi, Mississippi, where he could combine his love of poker with the love of his grandchildren who live there. He didn’t spend all of his time at the casinos playing poker—he could also be found in local poker games and thoroughly enjoyed watching the professionals play on television once his illness made it more difficult for him to sit for long periods of time to play.

Although currently arrangements are incomplete, the proposed Celebration of Life Service will be held at the American Legion Post #162 on November 3, 2007, upon the return of the Legion’s Commander to oversee the service. There will not be a formal memorial or funeral; however, the Celebration of Bob’s Life will be open to friends and family. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate a donation to the charity of your choice instead. Sometime after the Celebration of Life, the closest friends and family will gather on the water in an intimate ceremony to spread Bob’s ashes; allowing him to share his final resting place among the waters and areas that he wanted to spend the most time in and to conserve.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

All in a Day's Work

This has been such a beautiful weekend. We were even able to turn the AC off for the majority of yesterday and today. OK so it got a little warm this afternoon, but we "toughed it out" just to save a tad on the electric bill. Not to mention we wanted to have the windows open in our bedroom while we painted. We started with the master bath last weekend. It looks so much better than it did. We started on the bedroom today. Instead of disassembling the bed, the dressers and anything else--we just moved everything to the north and west side of the room. We have the south and east walls painted now and the other half of the room we'll get to as the week goes along.

I really hated being couped up all day--hence another reason to open all the windows. At least it let all the pretty sunshine and the cooler weather inside while we were painting. Of course I love the smell of a freshly painted room--not to mention when something is freshly painted it doesn't look like old and ragedy! The walls no longer have grimey fingerprints all over them. The window sills, baseboards and doorframes are grease and grime free and best of all, dust free!!! Of course that won't last long.

But the best part of the day was when we were waiting for the first coat to dry enough to put on the second coat (and yes, it did dry that fast!) I started going through some of the free online resources that I found for teachers (especially for spedsters, but a lot of the resources are good for all levels of general education as well). There is a fantastic resource that allows you to use either current pictures on their site or upload your own. Then you or your students can talk about the picture--perfect for finding out what a student knows or doesn't know when they have troubles putting their thoughts on paper. It also gives the students (or teacher) the ability to post/type in their thoughts and ideas about something. For those that can neither talk or write, but can draw--or even just scribble or have hand-over-hand assistance, a special pen is used to "doodle" on the pictures. It can then be saved to the site. The teacher has the ability to moderate anything any of the students (or anyone else) puts onto the site. It also has the option that only those in your class, or school or even just you and the student can see. So if you're worried about the entire internet world seeing the pictures or what you or your students have to say about them, Don't! I think the very best part of the entire deal is that if you are an educator (and you have to use your school email address and agree to a couple of other terms--that are easy enough) it is FREE!!!!

It is called Voice Thread Pro, and you can go to this site to find out more about it: I really hope that you are able to go to this site and are interested in it. Am I going to gain anything if you do? No, unless you opt to share your voice threads with our group so that we can see how they work with your students or parents or other teachers. I plan on trying to get to this site from the school--with my luck, even though it is an educational site AND it has the word " blog" within it, it will probably be blocked as well. I really think this is a really cool tool--and wouldn't it be great, Doyla, to document the students' feelings and abilities with this for the MAA? (BTW, for those of you who don't know, that is the Mississippi Alternate Assessment).

Ok, I'll get off my soap box about this. I haven't even used it, but I'm excited about it just from the description and the ability to see how it works.

Hope all of you had a great weekend--since it was beautiful weather. Stephanie and Jay, I hope your bands did well if you took them to the Gold Medal Classic. Here's hoping all of your teams won this weekend.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Do You Remember Me?


Hope you will take a few minutes to watch. The following is the hottest thing on the internet and on Fox News today. Lizzie Palmer who put this YouTube program together is 15 yrs old. There have been over 3,000,000 hits as of this morning. In case you missed it, here it is. Watch all of it.......and, pass it on!!

Those Were the Days--Or Were They?

"Last night, my friend and I were sitting in the living room and I said to her, 'I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.' So she got up, unplugged the TV, and threw out my wine. She's such a *@^&#....."

You know, this is often true of all of us. We as Americans, in general, spend way too much time in front of the TV and we eat and drink way too much! But we have been raised that way. Can you remember when you spent most of the day OUTSIDE playing? Can you remember when a big box was as much fun (if not more) than the toy that was in the box? Can you remember when cowboys and indians was a game instead of two football teams? Can you remember when playing cops and robbers didn't involve someone getting hurt or worse? Can you remember that if you wanted to go somewhere you walked or rode your bike? Can you remember when the only TV channels only went from 2-13 and the only stations were ABC, NBC, or CBS? Do you remember when the TV series families always included a mom AND dad? Do you remember when the mom and dad NEVER slept in the same bed in those shows? Do you remember when getting a jar of jelly required you to go downstairs to the basement and get a jar that mom or grandma had canned last fall? Do you remember when the Mickey Mouse Club was a show that didn't include microphones, bass guitars, fancy clothes, etc.? Do you remember when Saturday morning was the only time you could watch cartoons--and they were all G rated? Do you remember when Johnny Quest was the most adventurous show on Saturday mornings?

What has happened to those days? What has happened to the active little kids in the neighborhood going from house to house? Drinking from garden hoses in the summer? Going to the store with mom or dad was a big deal? Going to church every Sunday was not an option? Buying anything but groceries or medicine on Sundays was forbidden--and the other stores weren't open anyway? Getting together on Sunday night in front of the television to watch The Wonderful World of Disney and Sing Along with Mitch was a family routine that most all families did?

Unfortunately, those days are gone. We have grown into a world that only prays when everything else has been tried and nothing has worked. Our jobs are often more important than our families. Our communication now entails a vast computer network instead of paper, envelopes and a trip to the mailbox or post office. Our phones are now seemingly attached to our heads and nothing keeps the phone from ringing--or answering, even funeral services, weddings, baptisms, dinner with your sweetheart, etc.

We have become an instant society. We want everything NOW!!!! We want it with all the bells and whistles. It's amazing how teachers are able to get children to stay still and learn anything without putting on a show. If it is on TV or a video game, is it real? Ask many children and they will tell you, "I saw it on TV so it must be true." How about all the spoofs and spam you receive? Junk mail in your snail mail box is bad enough--but now we have to wade through tons of it in our email boxes as well.

Who of you remembers writing a diary that was sacred and private? Diaries are now called journals and blogs--to which this would be included! Nothing is private anymore--we put all of our thoughts out into cyberspace where anyone can read them. We've become a society where knowing your neighbors is a rarity instead of the the norm. How many of you can say that you not only recognize your neighbors when they are "out in public" but can call them by name as well? I've lived in the same neighborhood for almost 16 years and I only know the ones directly next to me or those that my children played with when they were little. I'm sure that my neighbors would be appalled if I had one of the kids go next door to borrow an egg because I was one short.

Society today is not trusting--when was the last time you had car trouble and everyone drove on by and you were glad they didn't stop? Or you saw someone that needed help on the side of the road and you were afraid to stop? Has the reporting of kidnappings, shootings, rape, etc. gotten so out of hand that you can't trust anyone today? Did the same kind of things happen when we were young--but we never knew because it wasn't reported on the TV every 30 minutes or the newspaper in glaring headlines? What ever happened to reporting GOOD news? Is there good news anymore? Do good things happen anymore? I know they do--and the media down plays those acts of kindness, goodness and instead harps on all the bad.

See if you can find some goodness today. See if you can find something kind or good to write about in your blog today. I know that there is something out there that is worth writing about! So, no matter how much you hate having to do the blah, blah, blah of everyday life take a moment to look for the good things happening around you. Find something that is miraculous or spectacular. You know, it doesn't have to be something earth shattering; it might just be something as cute as a kitten.

My good thing today: My daughter brought home a stray kitten last night--he's probably just barely 6 weeks old. The first reaction I should have had was, "Oh no, not another critter! What are you going to do with it? You can't keep it in the dorm with you." Instead I asked, "Where'd he come from and where are you going to keep him?" She told me he was an abandoned kitty on her campus--there is no sign of Momma cat anywhere. One of her suite mates got him (scared and hungry) and brought him to the dorm. They fed him and gave him some much needed love and comfort. The suite mate who would take him home or she'd have to send him to the humane society. Well, my girl immediately said she'd bring him home. And now this loving, very cute black & white bobbed tailed kitten has a new home with 5 other cats amd 2 dogs. Did we need another four legged mouth to feed? No. But he needed us. He needed someone that would love him and keep him safe (even though he'd make a bite size snack for my dogs).

So, I challenge you, find at least one good thing today that you can write about! Have a great Saturday--and enjoy the love of your children, spouse, significant other and/or friends and animals! And I want to share a little "happy" with Jewels--the rest can just enjoy the smile! You can find this photo at

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is it Friday YET????

Why is it that it seems like the short weeks are the longest weeks? The students have all come back from a four day weekend and have acted like they were given one-on-one attention, allowed to do what they wanted, not made to do anything that they didn't want to do, and don't have to or want to listen to anyone in an athoritarian position the entire time. We (my assistants and I, the teachers in rooms up and down the halls, the therapists, nurses and the principal have all heard enough yells, cries, screams, and temper tantrums to last us a life time--just in two days! Several of us have been kicked, hit, swung at, spit at, thrown up on, and anything else that they could manage in the middle of their tantrum tyraids. Enough is enough! Oh, and let's not forget that they are fixing to go home tomorrow afternoon to be with the same loving, doting, easily manipulated families for another two days.

I'm not saying that the parents don't love them. I'm not saying that the parents don't care what their children do. I'm not saying anything against the parents. I just know the mentality of several parents in our schools think that if the child is a special needs child that they should not be told 'NO", should not be disciplined, should not be expected to do too much, should be allowed to do what they want just to make them happy. However, that attitude is what defeats the purpose of all that we try to do at the schools to make them as independent and "normal" as their general education peers. It is that kind of parental attitude when the children are young that totally ruin and make the child uncontrollable, unbearable, unmanageable, and down right nasty as they grow to be teenagers and adults. When the "cute" little kids do things and are not disciplined or taught right from wrong, then when they get to be larger than you, how will you control their actions? It is just down right aggravating. OK I'll get off my soap box now!

So in essence, in answer to my question--NO, but it is almost Friday (especially since there is only 1 more hour before it is Friday morning!). That means today is/was Thursday. It also means that we went to see our daughters in the Band of Gold at one of the last two remaining games at the MGCCC campus. The game was a close one; ending in overtime with the Bulldogs defeating Northwest MS junior college 27-20. The Band of Gold performed a musical tribute to Star Wars. I must say, I was very impressed with their performance. Of course, I have seen bits and pieces of it (well at least the flag routines) as one daughter comes home to practice each weekend. Of course, by going to the game we missed Ugly Betty, Grey's Anatomy and whatever the show after that is (Big Shots?????). but that is perfectly fine. Watching my daughters perform and perform so well is well worth missing the "favorites" on TV. My own children can out do and will come first any time on the priority list--especially when comparing to TV!!!!

And if Today is Thursday, that means tomorrow will be Friday! Hip Hip Hooray! Maybe we will be able to get through the day without any major tantrums and we can start over on Monday. And as tired as I am tonight and before Cindy's carriage turns back into a pumpkin with little mice falling off the sides and back of the "carriage" and with the dog no longer able to be a footman, I am going to say good night and I'll see you all in your own Blogs, the discussion board and maybe even in a Wiki!?!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"Monday, Monday Oh What a Day"

Monday, Monday, Monday.

Yes you see that right. It does say Monday. Whenever we have a three day weekend, it feels like Monday is on its correct day as well as Tuesday feeling like a Monday (teacher's workday--so I had to go to work). Now this week, I can put in the third Monday as tomorrow will be the first day the students and assistants will be back at school. So everything we do will be laced with the "What is today?" question to be sure we do the right stuff on the right days! It will also feel like so much longer of a day with us only having 3 days of school with students this week.

Don't get me wrong--I was grateful the students weren't there today. I had too many other things that I had to get done today. And I still didn't get them all done. But I did get the important things done!

I was excited to find out that the article I wrote up for our Johnny Appleseed Birthday Celebration was published in the local paper on Sunday. I don't get a paper, so I didn't see it. But someone brought it to me this morning. I don't really care that they published what I wrote--they have full editorial rights to whatever I submit. I WAS excited that one of the pictures I took to accompany the article was there.

OK, I promised to give information on the Pony Patch to a classmate. So here it is. The Pony Patch is a family operated business that originally was just in the "game" to go entertain children at birthday parties. They have horses that they used to bring to people so the children could ride them. The owner, Karen then met and married a man with a beautiful son with Down's Syndrome. She saw how he went from being very frightened of the horses to having a very special relationship with them. As they added animals to their farm, she saw how the animals were able to help bring him out of his shell. Since then, they have hosted parties for special needs children and especially school groups. She invites them--well technicallythe teacher arranges a field trip--to her home. they then are allowed to ride the horses, pet the goats, chickens, rabbits, pig, and whatever other animal happens to be around that day. Karen and her staff have grown to love our special needs children and love to work with them with the animals. The reactions to the animals vary from child to child, animal to animal. But no matter what, you can see an acceptance in the faces of both the animals and children that each of them is special.

You can contact Karen and her menagerie at:

"The Pony Patch"
Karen Davidson-Travis
16037 Grafe Homestead Road
228-623-2888 / 228-239-0560 / 228-588-0709 (Site is Under Construction)

Monday, October 8, 2007

What's in a Name?

Everyone has to go by something--and it is usually the name their parents have given them. There are some that go by well known knick names--Tricky Dick, of course if you're old enough (and I feel some of you reading this are not) will know that man as President Richard M. Nixon. There are others that are known by only a first name--Cher or Oprah for instance. There are those that are known by stage names--Englebert Humperdink, NO that is NOT his real name. There are some that are known by a name others give them--Johnny Appleseed was born John Chapman. Some names when called bring to mind horror movies--Vincent Price or Bella La Gosi (forgive me if that isn't spelled correctly). Other names bring to mind comedy--Bill Engvall or Bill Cosby. Some names bring to mind "the hottest person on Earth"--for women that could include Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise and a mile long list of others; for men that might include Raquel Welch, Beyonce, Angelina Jolie and another mile long list. For most people, they have a name they go by that most people know and call them. When a person marries, one may then be known as "John's wife" or "Sarah's husband". When one has children they are often more known as "Adam's Mom" or "Susie's Dad" than actually having a name of their own. Some names incite power when thought of--Winston Churchill while others don't have much affect at all on people. Some names infuriate people--say for instance any of our modern day enemies, especially ones that are in Persian Gulf area--you all know who I'm speaking of. I just don't want to show my true ignorance of spelling their names! Some people name their children after Biblical figures while others prefer the latest, greatest sports or entertainment names, and still others try to have the most bizarre combination of consonants and vowels to make up a name that no one can pronounce and the child has to struggle to say let alone learn to spell.

So is it the name that makes the person or the person that makes the name? I really could not tell you the answer to that question. I have my theories. In most cases the person makes the name into what it provokes in people. When someone says "George Washington", what comes to mind? Proud. Patriotic. Founding Father. Strict Disciplinarian. Shy. General. There are so many things that come to mind. It was the man that made his name known as all of these things. He and the people around him made his name one that even elementary school children will tell you, "He was our first President." The name "John Smith" on the other hand means a world of different things. If one is a historian, one might think of John Smith as a great leader that brought the Indians and the English together. To movie buffs, John Smith might bring visions of Brad Pitt in Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Others might think of it as just a name to tell someone when you don't want them to know who your really are. So I suppose the answer is both! What is your take on it?

All of this to answer someone that asked me "What is Dragon's Dolphin?" I have so many names that I am known by--legal name, knick name, first husband's last name, second husband's last name, a hyphenated combination of both last names, screen names, ebay ID name, none of which are really the same. But in the realm of privacy and not wanting to let everyone that has access to the internet who I really am--Dr. Lecter you should be proud--I have called myself Dragon's Dolphin. For those that know me very well, they would say that I have been known by this name for 2 years. It is the combination of the item my husband collects and the item I collect. He is often referred to as Dragon and I as Dolphin. Therefore, I am Dragon's Dolphin. No I'm not his possession, but it would be the same as saying "I am Sam's wife." And no, my husband's name is not Sam. So now "you know the rest of the story." Thank you Paul Harvey for making that a line that would almost ultimately bring your name to one's mind.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Another Sunday....

OK, so once again, I've got another virus this weekend. Either that or my stomach is paying me back for not taking all my medication on schedule this week. But who could blame me? It has been such a full week. Not that you can tell that by what has gone into this blog this week. Oh, but that is because we have been busy building a classic car. Do I mean a real one--heavens no! But we have had a blast getting things ready for my students for the contest of our Cruisin' the Coast CDC Style! In case you want to know about our contest, keep reading--as I'm putting in the article I'll be submitting to our local papers for the event. My computer is acting up today, so there won't be pictures of the winning cars, but you'll get the gist anyway.

Cruisin’ the Coast Child Development Center Style

The Harrison County Child Development Center joined the Mississippi Gulf Coast
in its annual Cruisin’ the Coast on Friday, October 5, 2007. Thanks to a suggestion by one of the staff members, the classes were given the opportunity to build their own classic cars that were judged on their originality and the most authentic to the design and style of the original car. Cars that were made included two cars made as the ’57 Chevy, ‘55 Pink Cadilac, classic fire truck, ’31 Ford truck, ’37 Studebaker truck complete with operational lights, ’29 Ford Roadster, ’29 Ford Woody Station Wagon, the “prehistoric Barney Mobile”, ’57 Ford Mustang, ’57 Ford Thunderbird, a car to represent the 1909-1914 Model T Fords, ’58 Corvette and the ‘49 ZZ Top Ford Coupe.

Two of the cars were made with the class students’ pictures incorporated into the
designs as passengers. Most of the cars used a combination of small and large cardboard boxes as their main chassis. Other cars were made around strollers or buggies that allowed for the students to ride in them. Other building materials included aluminum foil, poster board, bulletin board paper, foam pipe covering, Styrofoam, plastic cups, aluminum ashtrays, plastic plates, fabric, stuffing material or batting, and lots of paint and hot glue.

The “Most Authentic” award winner, Ms. Robin Bates, Ms. Deanna Meyers and
thier class, was the miniature 1949 ZZ Top Ford coupe complete with driver,
steering wheel, gear shift, upholstered seats, fuzzy dice and engine. The “Most Colorful” award went to Mr. Mark Nagell and Ms. Heather Lindberg and their class with Elvis Presley’s 1955 Pink Cadillac, complete with flaming print upholstered seats. With the help of Mr. Jeff Holland, Ms. Sharon Malley and Mrs. Marilyn Hale and their class won the “Best Overall” award with their 1958 Corvette.

Mrs. Vicki Carter, principal, presented each of the winners with a certificate of their award at the school’s Sock Hop. The students then “bopped ‘til they dropped” before returning to class and then to their buses. Several of the staff and students dressed in ‘50’s style apparel and enjoyed the music from the 1950’s to dance to. Ms. Betty Ann Albert and Ms. Terra Brazeale impressed the staff and students with their modified jitterbug. Mrs. Teresa Franklyn, the school’s Activities Committee Chairman, was the unofficial disc jockey for the dance.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

All in A Mom's Day

Do you ever have the feeling that a Mom's Day never ends? Well, I often have that feeling--even when I don't have kids at home. There's always someone calling home asking for something. "Did you pick up my medicine?" "Can I go then stay at....?" "Can you fix my.....?" "Have you seen my....?" "Did I leave home when I left?"

Do you ever feel like you are turning into your own Mom? When did you look in the mirror and decide that you were your Mom? When did you realize you were saying the things that she did? I started realizing I was my own Mom when I had my first child. I have taken my revenge though. I've already given my children "The Curse". Anyone that is a parent knows what "The Curse" is." When you tell your children, "I hope that when you have children, they will be just like you!" My future daughter-in-law has already decided that her children are going to be double cursed! She already acts so much like me. And she calls my son (well, my stepson) a clone of his Dad. She knows what we are like and she has already declared that she's scared to have children.

Now if you ever feel like you're hearing yourself say things that you swore you'd never say; take a look at "Mom's Song" at You really will decide that you say way too much that your mom said to you. However, how she gets 24 hours worth of "Momisms" into 2 1/2 minutes and all sung to the William Tell Overture I will never know. But if you're a Mom, or even a Dad, or even those that plan on having children one day; I think you will get a big kick out of this video. It really is a hoot!

Have a smile on me today and enjoy the rest of the day!

Friday, September 28, 2007


Did you ever have a week when you felt that Friday would never get there? I had one of those this week. All in all, the week went by at the same speed as it always does. Time is like that. No matter how we perceive it, time trudges on at the same pace/rate as always. I had gotten an email once that was about the perception of time. It was so true--I just wish that I could remember it. It included the perception from the points of view of how long 9 months is to a pregnant woman; 1 minute is to someone in the electric chair (I think); an hour is to the parent of a child in the ER; and other such things. Time can feel like it stands still or that it is flying by you--and yet it is the same second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

There really is no explanation to why it felt like time just would not continue so that Friday would get here. I'm sure that I could find lots of excuses for it; I didn't feel well towards the end of the week thanks to a cold; SPED paper work has changed once again and we've been having extra meetings about it; my teacher assistant is afraid she's had a stroke or something since the diagnosis and medication for a severe sinus infection has not changed her condition; the loss of a student I had taught for 8 or 9 years--and I'd known him the entire time he'd been enrolled at the school (from the age of 3 until he was 18 and no longer able physically to continue to come to school). He was 22 when he died on Monday. He was so precious and loving to all that he met. He touched the lives of everyone that he came in contact with. Yes there were some that felt pity or disgust due to the fact his body had twisted so terriby over the years. He couldn't talk or walk. He was tube fed and had to be cared for all of his needs. But he was a very special young man. He had such a charismatic personality. His smile would light up the entire room when he flashed it at you. He had eye lashes that most women would kill for. His hair was so soft and curly. He had the ability to draw you to him with just a look. He had a sense of humor that matched his outgoing personality. He found pleasure in music and often would sit on the couch at home and listen to his sister play the saxaphone. I could never explain just how much this young man touched not only my life but so many others in their walk through life that crossed the path with Paul.

Winston Jr., Paul H.

Mr. Paul H. Winston, Jr., 22, of D'Iberville, MS, died Monday, September 24, 2007, in Biloxi.
Mr. Winston was a lifelong resident of the coast. He was a very resilient young man who had a very charismatic personality. The room seemed to light up when he came in with his infectious smile and bright eyes.
He is survived by his parents, Paul and Vilma Winston; sisters, Emmalee Winston and Christine Winston, all of D'Iberville, and two nieces.
Visitation is Thursday, September 27, 2007, from 5 until 7 p.m. at Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home, Howard Avenue, in Biloxi. Funeral services will be 12 p.m. Friday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Biloxi. Interment will follow in Biloxi National Cemetery.
View and sign register book at
Published in The Sun Herald on 9/27/2007.